You might think it late in the year for a new, top-end carbon-fibre road bike launch but Wilier clearly has other ideas, unveiling its new Wilier Filante SLR.
Described as an aero bike with the weight and characteristics of a lightweight machine, the new Filante SLR Disc is certainly on trend, with a raft of new ‘GC’ bikes toeing a similar line throughout 2020.
Fans of Wilier’s range will already be aware of the Wilier Cento10 Pro, a top end, out-and-out aero racing bike. As recently as the summer, Wilier updated its Cento range, with the Cento10 SL, a bike that sat one level below the top end Pro model.
The top-end Pro model has now quietly slipped away, replaced by the Filante SLR with the Cento10 SL sat beneath it. It’s a move that other bike brands have made this year, most notably Specialized, which phased out its Venge range after introducing the Tarmac SL7.
If you take a look at both the Cento and the Filante, the two certainly bear a familial resemblance, although there are some subtle differences.
For starters, the new frame is less aggressively aero shaped. It still features NACA airfoils and the tubing has a Kammtail design but it’s softer than previous designs, and more rounded. Kammtail designs are well known to maintain the aero benefits of the classic teardrop shape whilst cutting weight and excess material.
According to Wilier, the Filante SLR is 11% lighter than the outgoing Cento10 Pro, without dropping stiffness in the frame.
The new bike also bears more than a passing resemblance to Wilier’s Zero model, the brand’s dedicated lightweight bike. The head tube on both bikes looks very similar and the rest of the bike’s tubing has the same rounded tubing design. The new Filante SLR doesn’t have the same ‘notch’ where the seat clamp bolt lives.
The similarities are more than aesthetic, however. The new Filante SLR and the Zero share the same carbon-fibre layup, which the brand boasts as offering better bump absorption. The fork also has the same offset design as that of the Zero to better withstand the disc brake forces. However, the Filante’s forks are wider than the Cento10 Pro’s, to the sum of 7mm on either side of the wheel. This not only reduces air turbulence, according to Wilier, but it also perfectly hides the rear triangle of the bike, again reducing drag.
That might sound unusual, but it’s a design we’ve seen used in the past in cycling, just in quite a different context. Wilier told us that it derives from the Hope bike that the GB track team were due to ride at the 2020 olympics. According to the Italians, the same principle applies on the Filante SLR.
Wilier says that the geometries across the three bikes is close, as it wanted to narrow the gaps between the bikes for its pro riders, making it easier to jump between them.
Neat final details include capacity for 30mm tyres, with Vittoria Corsa 28mm fitted as standard, as well as the use of Mavic’s Speed Release thru-axle system, which is easy to use.
The Filante SLR uses the same one-piece bar and stem as found on the Zero, which not only reduces handlebar weight by a claimed 50g over the Cento but also runs all cables completely internally. It’s paired to split spacers to make maintenance and changing stack height easier.
There’s some smart internal cable management, too. Wilier has patented a new bearing design (1 1/4 inch top and bottom) to allow the cables to pass through internally and the bike uses a round steerer rather than a square steerer that’s popular at the moment. Wilier says this has allowed it to reduce the head tube’s size.
When it comes to fit, Wilier offers an enormous range of adjustment across its bikes, and it argues that its AccuFit system comes close to a bespoke fit. AccuFit differs from a typical fit in that it measures the stack to the handlebar rather than the top of the head tube. For one rider’s set of data there are over 200 combinations of frame size, stem length and bar height. Wilier offers five handlebar sizes and up to 30mm of spacers underneath the stem to make it easier to get the right fit. There’s also an integrated seatpost extender to allow a tuneable fit at the rear of the bike.
Before we get onto the riding of this bike, let’s just take a moment to talk about its looks. For the sake of avoiding the same old platitudes that all Gucci Italian bikes are described with, let’s just say it’s very special.
However, where it does avoid stereotypes is in its ride quality. It’s no overly harsh Italian frame; instead it offers an impressively plush ride quality, no doubt helped by those wide and supple Vittoria Corsa tyres. It’s a little undergeared for a pedigree racing bike, using a compact 50/34 Shimano Dura-Ace crankset. I’d like to throw down some harder efforts and faster-paced rides to see if it has the same acceleration and speed as other bikes at this price point. One thing’s for certain: I can’t wait to ride it again.
Wilier specs each model with two different wheel options, allowing for a second price point with each different groupset. We currently don’t have images of these models but will update this page as soon as we do.
Wilier Filante SLR Disc Campagnolo Super Record EPS £11,160
Wilier Filante SLR Disc Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 £10,170
SRAM Red eTap AXS Disc £10,260
Wilier Filante SLR Disc Shimano Ultegra Di2 8070 £7,380
Wilier Filante SLR Disc SRAM Force eTap AXS w/power £8,100
Wilier Filante SLR Disc SRAM Force eTap AXS £7,470
Wilier Filante SLR Disc SRAM Force eTap AXS Wide £7,470
This content was originally published here.
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